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Anti-inflammatory medications. Not without risk.

December 28, 2009

Many of us use anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)  for pain, arthritis, inflammatory conditions like tendonitis, bursitis or for help with inflammation after injuries.  In recent years several of this class of medications including ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, others) and naproxen (Aleve) have become available over-the-counter.  Keep in mind that these medications, though often very useful, can have significant side effects and drug interactions.  In general if you are at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding like having a history of peptic ulcer disease, if you take Coumadin (warfarin)  or other anticoagulants, or if you are older than 65 you should be especially careful about taking these medications.

In addition these medications can make many blood pressure medications less effective, especially the ACE inhibitor class of medications.  They can cause sodium retention in patients at risk for congestive heart failure, and prolonged use can lead to serious kidney injury and renal failure.  If you use an NSAID regularly you should ask your physician to screen for kidney damage, and you certainly need to let your health care provider know that you are taking these medications.

See an excellent physician oriented review of these medications NSAID Prescribing Precautions in AFP, the American Academy of Family Physicians educations journal for family doctors.

Download as a PDF

Click here – NSAID Review